Pacific Dampwood Termites

Author: Pacific Northwest Inspections Group, LLC   Date: 25-Nov-2013.   Category: Pest Rodents   Add to Favorites 

 Pacific Dampwood Termites require wet or damp wood to establish colonies. Wet wood may result from wood-soil contact, leaky plumbing, leaky roofs and/or gutters, and faulty grades around the building. They will also attack wood which has become wet from condensation in poorly ventilated crawl spaces. Rain soaked firewood is another point of infestation. It is a good idea not to store firewood within 25' of the building. Remember they live in the 

 wood they feed on. In most cases, control can be achieved by eliminating and repairing structurally unsound wood and by eliminating moisture problems. Spraying alone will not eliminate this pest.

The Pacific dampwood termite is the largest termite species found in the State of Washington. They are cream to dark brown in color. Soldiers have large reddish brown to blackish heads, cream colored bodies, and are approximately 3/4" long with the head and mandibles compromising about one third their length. Nymphs are creamy-white to yellow-brown and about 1/2" long when fully developed.

They are becoming more common in the Seattle and Bellevue areas than previous years. Wood decay fungus is often found in conjunction with this termite. These termite also attack wood in crawlspaces that become wet from condensation of poorly vented crawlspaces. These termites love moisture and chemical applications alone will not eradicate this pest and should be discouraged.


Image above: Appears this one is ready to mature and grow some wings for the next swarm? This image was taken from our termite colony located in our Bellevue,WA office early March.


Dampwood termite colonies, like drywood termites, have no worker caste. The nymph dampwood termites take care of the kings and queens of the colony and feed the soldier caste. These termites create a series of chambers in wood, which are connected by tunnels with smooth walls, as if sandpapered.


Dampwood termites are usually found in logs, stumps, dead trees, fence posts and utility poles.


Dampwood termites do not usually infest structures because of their need for excessive moisture. However, care must be taken to avoid attracting dampwood termites to a structure, as they can cause serious property damage. In fact, dampwood termites and other termite species cause a collective $5 billion in property damage each year.

Dampwood Termite Prevention

To avoid dampwood termites, homeowners should eliminate sources of moisture by diverting water away from the home's foundation. It's important to repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units on the outside of the home as dampwood termites are often drawn to these areas. Firewood should be stored at least 20 feet away from the house. To prevent dampwood termites indoors, reduce humidity by properly ventilating crawl spaces, attics and basements.